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Archive for June 10th, 2024

Melanie Jayne: My Nightly Conundrum—To DNF or Not (Contest)
Monday, June 10th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Pansy Petal!

Cue “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men to play in the background.

Besides writing romance, I am an avid reader. I try to read a book every two days.

Now, before you credit me with being a speed reader, I will admit that my husband and our bossy mastiff fall asleep early, so I have about three hours to read. I usually pick out a book and start after dinner with interruptions, and after the males are quiet, I can get my reading groove on.

Eighteen months ago, I decided to clean out my Kindle. I had books from 2012 that I had never read. So, I made a deal with myself:  read one old and then two new (published in 2023 or later) to make a dent in the TBR list.

For years, I finished the book no matter what. After I started publishing, I felt like I had to hang in and finish a book as a sign of commitment to the writing community.

However, life is too short for bad books.

I felt guilty for not finishing. I’d message my friends and defend my decision not to finish as if the “Kindle Police” were going to report me for having DNFs (Do Not Finish).

Then, I started to notice more people talking about not finishing books. What once had been a somewhat taboo topic was discussed openly.

I have reasons for not finishing. The first is if I find five proofreading/editing mistakes within the first three chapters. Authors are taught that the first three should grab the reader’s attention. So, misspellings, incorrect word usage, or poor grammar causes me to stop.

Recently, I’ve come across three published books where I believe the authors forgot to tap “Accept Changes” before uploading the manuscript and pressing “Publish.” These were not intentional cross-outs—no, they were unnecessary extra words. Again—DNF.

This is a hard rule for me—if the pet dies. I won’t finish and most likely won’t read anything else by the author. True story:  I almost dumped a friendship because she sent me a book where at the end, the dog died. I still feel upset about the poisoned pet, and I never read another book by that author.

Excluding Dark Romance, another stopper for me is when a main character is written to be so ugly and hateful that I can’t believe that they are worthy of love. There are times that I think that authors intend to create a strong, outspoken character and instead, they read as a total jerk. I try to keep toxic people out of my life, so I’m not letting them in my reading.

Filler. I accept that some stories are shorter than others. What makes me quit a book is when the author stretches out the tale with multiple-page passages in another language, recounts a prior scene two or three times, and repeats the same reasons for why the couple won’t work. I have a running joke with a friend about a series that we both love. In each book, the couple has officially committed and marching to their HEA. The author adds a final kidnapping, an explosion, or a car chase. Those events don’t add anything else to the story except an action scene and another deep kiss. If I discovered the series today, I might be annoyed by the “one more” to consider DNF-ing.

That brings me to the most difficult to explain—I didn’t connect with it. There are times that I just don’t like the book. It could be that I had figured out who committed the crime too early. A character is too stupid to survive in the real world. I will admit that as my years increase, I find myself getting irritated by characters in their early twenties who run crime syndicates, are running billion-dollar, large corporations, or find the answer to a problem that people have been working on for years.

The great thing about reading is that there is always another book to read. With the explosion of Monster Romance and Alien Romance shorts, I can devour two a night, and that makes me feel accomplished.

Now, I’m curious- What causes you to DNF? A Winner will be chosen at random to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

About the Author


Melanie/M. Jayne is the teller of tales of the Novus Pack and an Amazon Bestselling Author. See Me was a finalist for the Holt Medallion. In 2022, the Duchenne Vampire Series enriched her portfolio. She loves reading, luxury handbags, watching sports, and the Bravo Housewives. Learn more at